October 01, 2023

Thoughts On Making Korea Whole

Recently, I watched an episode of a 2011 historical Korean TV drama, Warrior Baek Dong Soo. Set in the mid-1700s, there’s a scene where a defeated Chinese villain says to a Korean martial artist: “Someone so highly skilled in martial arts...How can he stay in this little Joseon (i.e., Korea)?” The Korean retorts, “It has been said that for five thousand years, more than half of the land that Qing (China) now possesses belonged to Joseon.”

Although a huge exaggeration of history, as a drama for a national audience, it nonetheless gave powerful expression for me to the idea of reestablishing one Korea, as a strong and cohesive nation that cannot be intimidated by China. Reunification is also the only way to avoid the perpetuation of separate Korean identities on the peninsula; reconstituting a single national identity is a profoundly serious matter after 67 years of division.